Who met him in rage on the road to Damascus?
Must readers accept him as chosen and true?
Is he feigning his motives? And why would he ask us
to value his vision defending the new…
Did he really know Christ as the risen redeemer?
Just who was that light that so blinded his eyes…
At times he appears a fanatical schemer
purveying confusion in heavenly lies:
A madman supplying pure Hellenist sophistry :
scribal subversive, apostle of doom
bedazzling converts with holy philosophy
utterly absent from that upper room.
It takes all my faith to accept him as credible,
lost in his phrases, he sounds demagogic.
His letters are labyrinths: barely accessible
maddening mazes of Levantine logic.
Christ chose twelve others to play out their part.
They affirmed His reality, mission and worth.
This mad interloper came late to the start
of the race—then ran to the ends of the earth.
In his zeal, over guilt for the mess he had made
I sometimes suspect he was trying to atone
(as he preached to the mobs from his colonnade)
for his errors – by doing it all on his own…
The gap is so wide between Paul and the Gospels
but blessed is the mind that can bridge the divide.
From twelve to thirteen we amend the apostles
that Christ over all may preside.
Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Apostle Paul Preaching on the Ruins